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Triton

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Orionblamblam

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Bah. Now here's a man's car:
Ford%20Nucleon.jpg
 

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Triton said:
I prefer the Ford Nucleon in blue with tail fins!

Interestingly, it seems to me that the Nucleon design could suddenly be relevant again. The nuclear reactor was designed to be kept within an easily replaced rectangular "pod" in the back. Not how far aft the front wheel are... made possible since the reactor and shielding was so much of the vehicless weight, all the way at the back.

While nukes are sadly still not practical... a great big battery pack *is.* Damned things can take forever to charge, so parhaps a vehicle that looks almost exactly like the Nucleon could be marketted with easily swappable battery packs. Drive into a "gas station and swap your old pack out for a new one, a process taking no longer than it currently takes to gas up.


Or how about a Ford Pinto from the period of the Fairchild ESV?

Or a GM truck with the "Dateline NBC Special Rocket Attachments" on the gas tanks...
 

Antonio

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what is the design date for the Nucleon? It looks between 50's and 60's
 

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/what is the design date for the Nucleon? It looks between 50's and 60'scode]
It looks between 50's and 60'scode]1958 i remember seeing that esv in popular mech back in the 70s had no idea it was republic there were other car s in the esv comp i think chrysler and AMC
 

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the Ford Nucleon was presented as concept car in 1957/58.

the Module in trunk, between the Fins is a very small nuclear reactor
he give the Nucleon a range of 5000 miles (8000 km) until the core has to replaces or ford mean recharge

more here
http://www.damninteresting.com/the-atomic-automobile
 

Triton

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I thought it was interesting that the Republic Aviation Division of Fairchild-Hiller, a company we normally associate with aviation, would respond to a United States Department of Transportation program to produce safer cars by 1980. I attached the photographs for information purposes. I was not endorsing the Experimental Safety Vehicle (ESV) program by the US DOT started in 1970. It seems that any concept with the words "safety", "economy", "green", "environmetally-friendly", "fuel-efficiency", or "alternative fuels" seems to be immediately greeted by some members with contempt.
 

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The Nucleon was designed by Ford's Advanced Vehicles department in 1958. Syd Mead was part of that group, though I don't know if he was involved with the Nucleon.

Notwithstanding the propulsion system, the basic problem with the Nucleon architecture is the driver and front passenger are ahead of the front wheels, which makes crash protection a challenge. The Dodge Deora and the GM Turbo Titan III would have the same problem if they were reincarnated. Looks darn cool though.
 

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Triton said:
I thought it was interesting that the Republic Aviation Division of Fairchild-Hiller, a company we normally associate with aviation, would respond to a United States Department of Transportation program to produce safer cars by 1980.

The post-Apollo collapse of American aerospace undoubtedly had a lot to do with that. Just as Messerschmitt started making dinky little cars after their airplane business got all blowed up, I've no doubt that Republic Fairchild Hiller saw automobiles as a way to maybe stay on their feet.

It seems that any concept with the words "safety", "economy", "green", "environmetally-friendly", "fuel-efficiency", or "alternative fuels" seems to be immediately greeted by some members with contempt.

As well they should. "Market driven" is really the only thing that should direct a business venture. The other concepts you mention are typically *external* drivers, generally forced onto manufacturers by bureaucrats and activists, and are *generally* not things that the car buying public gets overly enthused about. "Economy" is the only one of the bunch that the auto buying public really cares about, with "safety" coming second and the rest being counter-productive to what the people actually want. Look at the Government Motors "Volt." It's performance is dismal (substantially less than 50 MPG highway), it's small, crowded and unergonomic... and forty-fricken-thousand-dollars. The "Smart Car" is another that's marketted towards the "green" crowd... whole vastly smaller and less capable that the cheap "Vibe" I drive around in, the milage is only microscopically better, while being far more expensive. And so on.

Cars should be made the way buyers want 'em. And the whole "green" thing is an artificial restrint posed from outside that will only last a short while, historically... either we'll start cranking out the nuclear reactors and solar power satellites, thus making the whole issue of the loss of fossil fules moot, or society will collapse. And I'm sorry, but a Smart Car with a ring mount ain't gonna stand up on the post-apocalyptic roadways of tommorrow againt the rebuilt hummers and semis.
 

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Orionblamblam said:
As well they should. "Market driven" is really the only thing that should direct a business venture. The other concepts you mention are typically *external* drivers, generally forced onto manufacturers by bureaucrats and activists, and are *generally* not things that the car buying public gets overly enthused about. "Economy" is the only one of the bunch that the auto buying public really cares about, with "safety" coming second and the rest being counter-productive to what the people actually want. Look at the Government Motors "Volt." It's performance is dismal (substantially less than 50 MPG highway), it's small, crowded and unergonomic... and forty-fricken-thousand-dollars. The "Smart Car" is another that's marketted towards the "green" crowd... whole vastly smaller and less capable that the cheap "Vibe" I drive around in, the milage is only microscopically better, while being far more expensive. And so on.

Cars should be made the way buyers want 'em. And the whole "green" thing is an artificial restrint posed from outside that will only last a short while, historically... either we'll start cranking out the nuclear reactors and solar power satellites, thus making the whole issue of the loss of fossil fules moot, or society will collapse. And I'm sorry, but a Smart Car with a ring mount ain't gonna stand up on the post-apocalyptic roadways of tommorrow againt the rebuilt hummers and semis.

Written like a true Conservative Libertarian. Following your argument consumers should be free to be impaled by steering columns or go through wind shields or thrown from automobiles because safety regulation places an artificial restraint on the operation of free markets. Or free to run their cars on leaded gasoline and poison the environment with lead.

Those gasoline-powered Hummers and semis might run just a tad longer on the roads of the post-Apocalypse. But I just don't see Mad Max.

Now THIS is a man's car!

7254940001_large.jpg
 

Orionblamblam

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Triton said:
Written like a true Conservative Libertarian. Following your argument consumers should be free to be impaled by steering columns or go through wind shields or thrown from automobiles because safety regulation places an artificial restraint on the operation of free markets.

GASP! Next you'll suggest that people should have the freedom to throw themselves out of perfectly good airplanes, or climb rocks! Or smoke tobacco, consume sugar or eat meat! Or take a shower without wearing an OSHA-approved helmet!

Or free to run their cars on leaded gasoline and poison the environment with lead.

Sure, because obviously "I'm free to do whatever I like with myself" is absolutely no different whatsoever from "I'm free to mess with *you* however I like."

PS: How would my post have differed had it been written by a Liberal Libertarian?

PPS: Once you've determined that if you can't convince the people to accept something of their own free will you should nevertheless have the power to force it on them... where exactly do you stop?
 

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odd some guys at Ford has thought on time wen Car industry go's same way as Aerospace after Apollo

1962FordMonster_1000.jpg


found at Hemmings car blog
http://blog.hemmings.com/index.php/2010/07/26/the-people-and-monster-of-fords-factories/
 

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The NTIS has a few volumes on the Fairchild ESV available for sale:
http://tris.trb.org/view.aspx?id=9080
http://tris.trb.org/view.aspx?id=9081

These would seem to be paper copies, and thus if you actually buy them you should be aware that you are destroying the environment with carbon. And since they're paper, you'll probably get a paper cut, so be sure to wear your dolphin-safe, cruelty-free free-range Kevlar-fiber gloves before handling. BBe sure to have a large supply of Purell on hand, since someone else probably touched these documents, and you might catch some virulent plague from them. Do not take internally.

A bunch of ESV documents appear to be available here:
http://129.10.155.92/mvhappdfs/

Since these are all downloadable PDFs, beware of burning electrical discharges. Be sure to wear properly insulative radioactive rubber pants, and make sure to wrap any downloaded filesin static-free, properly grounded velostat bags and store them in a cool dry place away from the deleterious effect of sunlight, cosmic rays, earthquake, rain or proton decay.

Remember, in the inevitable event of a water landing, the seat cushion beneath you is the property of Experimental Safety Airlines and may not be removed from the plane.
 

Triton

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Each law, regulation, subsidy, or government-funded research program should be judged on its merits and detriments. Each must be judged on the benefits to the American-people in their health, safety, well-being, and enjoyment of property tempered by concerns for property rights and liberty.

Did the ESV (Experimental Vehicle) program help automobile makers improve vehicle safety and in turn allowed them to produce safer cars for the American-consumer? If the program saved lives and protected property on American roadways, doesn't it make it worthwhile? Do the benefits outweigh the costs?

It was your absolutism which I found so objectionable. Gasp! Each safety regulation or government research program is just one step closer to an authoritarian nanny-state in which individuals and business entities will have no freedoms or property rights whatsoever! The horror!
 

Triton

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Orionblamblam said:
The NTIS has a few volumes on the Fairchild ESV available for sale:
http://tris.trb.org/view.aspx?id=9080
http://tris.trb.org/view.aspx?id=9081

These would seem to be paper copies, and thus if you actually buy them you should be aware that you are destroying the environment with carbon. And since they're paper, you'll probably get a paper cut, so be sure to wear your dolphin-safe, cruelty-free free-range Kevlar-fiber gloves before handling. BBe sure to have a large supply of Purell on hand, since someone else probably touched these documents, and you might catch some virulent plague from them. Do not take internally.

A bunch of ESV documents appear to be available here:
http://129.10.155.92/mvhappdfs/

Since these are all downloadable PDFs, beware of burning electrical discharges. Be sure to wear properly insulative radioactive rubber pants, and make sure to wrap any downloaded filesin static-free, properly grounded velostat bags and store them in a cool dry place away from the deleterious effect of sunlight, cosmic rays, earthquake, rain or proton decay.

Remember, in the inevitable event of a water landing, the seat cushion beneath you is the property of Experimental Safety Airlines and may not be removed from the plane.

Oh dear! Hopefully the NTIS will give us the option of ordering these documents on paper made with recycled post-consumer content or on paper made from hemp, kenaf, or agricultural by-products. Preferably this paper is in its natural color without the use of environmentally polluting and/or toxic whitening agents printed with non-toxic inks or toners.

If you chose to download the documents to your computer, hopefully it will have EnergyStar and/or other energy saving technology and you generate some of your household electricity using roof -top solar panels or a pedal-powered electrical generator.
 

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Orion and Triton, please try to avoid off-topic. And above all please don't go personal. I'm going to delete your last posts.
 

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Orionblamblam said:
Triton said:
I thought it was interesting that the Republic Aviation Division of Fairchild-Hiller, a company we normally associate with aviation, would respond to a United States Department of Transportation program to produce safer cars by 1980.

The post-Apollo collapse of American aerospace undoubtedly had a lot to do with that. Just as Messerschmitt started making dinky little cars after their airplane business got all blowed up, I've no doubt that Republic Fairchild Hiller saw automobiles as a way to maybe stay on their feet.

It seems that any concept with the words "safety", "economy", "green", "environmetally-friendly", "fuel-efficiency", or "alternative fuels" seems to be immediately greeted by some members with contempt.

As well they should. "Market driven" is really the only thing that should direct a business venture.

Not even Adam Smith or Friedrich Hayek would completely agree with that. :p

The other concepts you mention are typically *external* drivers, generally forced onto manufacturers by bureaucrats and activists, and are *generally* not things that the car buying public gets overly enthused about. "Economy" is the only one of the bunch that the auto buying public really cares about, with "safety" coming second and the rest being counter-productive to what the people actually want. Look at the Government Motors "Volt." It's performance is dismal (substantially less than 50 MPG highway), it's small, crowded and unergonomic... and forty-fricken-thousand-dollars. The "Smart Car" is another that's marketed towards the "green" crowd... whole vastly smaller and less capable that the cheap "Vibe" I drive around in, the mileage is only microscopically better, while being far more expensive. And so on.

Cars should be made the way buyers want 'em. And the whole "green" thing is an artificial restraint posed from outside that will only last a short while, historically... either we'll start cranking out the nuclear reactors and solar power satellites, thus making the whole issue of the loss of fossil fuels moot, or society will collapse. And I'm sorry, but a Smart Car with a ring mount ain't gonna stand up on the post-apocalyptic roadways of tomorrow against the rebuilt hummers and semis.

Sorry, but without government help, there wouldn't be any nuclear power plants running.
 

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Orionblamblam said:
Triton said:
Written like a true Conservative Libertarian. Following your argument consumers should be free to be impaled by steering columns or go through wind shields or thrown from automobiles because safety regulation places an artificial restraint on the operation of free markets.

GASP! Next you'll suggest that people should have the freedom to throw themselves out of perfectly good airplanes, or climb rocks! Or smoke tobacco, consume sugar or eat meat! Or take a shower without wearing an OSHA-approved helmet!

Very well, let the driver kill himself/herself if he's/she's a stupid driver and doesn't care about his/her own safety (unless he or she uses the car for work and the company provides the car for him or her). The passengers, however, shouldn't be punished because of his or her stupidity.
 

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Hammer Birchgrove said:
Sorry, but without government help, there wouldn't be any nuclear power plants running.

And without government "help," there'd be a lot more of them.

Government is sometimes great for basic research. But when it meddles in the marketplace, it tends to make a mess of things.
 

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Orionblamblam said:
Hammer Birchgrove said:
Sorry, but without government help, there wouldn't be any nuclear power plants running.

And without government "help," there'd be a lot more of them.

Government is sometimes great for basic research. But when it meddles in the marketplace, it tends to make a mess of things.

First of all, the nuclear industry gets both direct and indirect subsidizes. Without help they wouldn't be more, they would have been out-competed by cheaper coal plants before getting a chance to be built.

Second, why do the (democratically elected) governments prevent new nuclear power plants from getting built? Because, unfortunately, "the people" demands it. Same people would simply refuse to buy electricity from companies with nuclear power stations.
 

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Hammer Birchgrove said:
First of all, the nuclear industry gets both direct and indirect subsidizes. Without help they wouldn't be more, they would have been out-competed by cheaper coal plants before getting a chance to be built.


Seriously arguable.

Same people would simply refuse to buy electricity from companies with nuclear power stations.

The French seem to do ok. Just like the "Sea Shepard" and "Greenpeace" people seem to be just fine with tooling around the oceans in filthy, inefficient smoke-generators.

And if someone doesn;t want to buy cheap nuclear electricty? More power to 'em.
 

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Orionblamblam said:
Hammer Birchgrove said:
First of all, the nuclear industry gets both direct and indirect subsidizes. Without help they wouldn't be more, they would have been out-competed by cheaper coal plants before getting a chance to be built.


Seriously arguable.

Same people would simply refuse to buy electricity from companies with nuclear power stations.

The French seem to do ok. Just like the "Sea Shepard" and "Greenpeace" people seem to be just fine with tooling around the oceans in filthy, inefficient smoke-generators.

And if someone doesn;t want to buy cheap nuclear electricty? More power to 'em.


Here in the US we have four particular, though not so obvious, problems getting nuclear power plants on line.

The first is "Regulatory Ratcheting". It takes a while to build a nuclear power plant. Part of this is actual construction, part is the approval process and part is fighting the inevitable lawsuits. During the construction of the plant, in many cases the regulatory requirements are "ratcheted up". In other words, when the design was first approved, there were a set of regulations it had to meet. During the construction, however, regulations were "ratcheted" upwards by Federal, State or local authorities. These are almost always retroactive, so you've got to go back and modify the design during construction with the inevitable rise in costs. For example, we have data from the 1970s. During this period, regulatory requirements increased the quantity of steel needed in a power plant of equivalent electrical output by 41%, the amount of concrete by 27%, the lineal footage of piping by 50%, and the length of electrical cable by 36%. These were applied not only to new designs, but also to plants under construction. It's like trying to hit an invisible moving target, so costs skyrocket.

The second reason is those who clog up the approval hearings. For example, when their time comes to present, they just read aloud from newspapers for days on end. Or they "cross examine" those applying for permits, raising issues that have nothing to do with the plant in question or even nuclear power at all. This gets overcome, but causes delays which drives up costs which was the goal all along. The never-opened Shoreham plant on Long Island is representative of how the tactics I describe here work. It was delayed for 3 years using the tactic of gumming up the hearings, but there was more to come.

Then there is the tactic of a local official who uses his power to play with the requirements to sabotage the project. For example, one of the NRC requirements is that there be a system and plans in place to sound warnings and do an evacuation of surrounding people in the extremely remote chance something dangerous escapes the plant. A controlled exercise with local officials is required to test the reality of the system and plans. Returning to Shoreham, the local officials in the county where Shoreham is located, refused to cooperate in these exercises, making it impossible to fulfill the NRC requirement. Keep in mind that at this point the plant was complete. This has happened elsewhere, Gov. Mike Dukakis pulled the same stunt at the Seabrook plant. Eventually the NRC took note of what was happening and ruled that if something did happen of course the local emergency teams would respond and so issued the permit. Of course, billions more were added in cost.

Finally, there is "judge shopping". If you file enough court cases in enough places, you'll eventually find a judge who for idealogical reasons will issue an injunction or a requirement to go out and revisit the entire certification process again before you can operate. This also happened at Shoreham and at other plants under construction.

The bottom line on Shoreham was that it became apparent to investors and the utility that tactics like the above would drive the costs to unbelievable levels. The State then stepped in and bought the plant and decomissioned it. Remember, the pant was complete, it just had to be turned on. So, the taxpayers of Long Island were stuck with a $6 billion bill for which they received nothing. This happened elsewhere; a good portion of the movie movie "The Abyss" was filmed in the containment vessel of another nuclear power plant that was abandoned during construction for much the same reasons.

It was what happened at Shoreham, the realization that no matter what you do and what you spend, someone can just come along and tie you up forever, that soured the financial community on nuclear power.

Probably should change the topic given where this discussion is going. The relevance to the overall site is that I suspect that it won't be too long before we start seeing this kind of thing used against new aircraft development.
 

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Orionblamblam said:
Hammer Birchgrove said:
First of all, the nuclear industry gets both direct and indirect subsidizes. Without help there wouldn't be more, they would have been out-competed by cheaper coal plants before getting a chance to be built.

Seriously arguable.

So why isn't NS Savannah running, or any other civilian nuclear ships beside icebreakers?

Because NS Savannah couldn't compete with steam and motor ships.

Same people would simply refuse to buy electricity from companies with nuclear power stations.

The French seem to do ok. Just like the "Sea Shepard" and "Greenpeace" people seem to be just fine with tooling around the oceans in filthy, inefficient smoke-generators.

The French government owns and controls a great deal of France's nuclear industry and the main electric company:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power_in_France

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commissariat_%C3%A0_l%27%C3%A9nergie_atomique

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Areva

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89lectricit%C3%A9_de_France

And don't get me started on Greenpeace... :p ::)

And if someone doesn't want to buy cheap nuclear electricity? More power to 'em.

Funny story from one of my sister's friends: When he got a call from the electricity company he had chosen (you can do that here now after the de-regulation), they asked him if he wanted electricity only from hydroelectric plants and wind mills, to which he answered "But I want electricity only from nuclear plants; I chose you because you build nuclear plants in Finland." She got stumped for a few seconds, then replied: "You're the first one to ask for nuclear power..."
 

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Hammer Birchgrove said:
So why isn't NS Savannah running, or any other civilian nuclear ships beside icebreakers?

Because NS Savannah couldn't compete with steam and motor ships.

Wow. A one-off non-production prototype with new technologies that was *not* designed to be commercially competative, (not even designed to be a very good cargo vessel, but instead an "impressive looking" tech demonstrator) couldn't economically compete with the established order, protected as that order was by little more than an army of trial lawyers and a horde of politcal activists. I'm shocked, SHOCKED I tell you!

But then...

The Maritime Administration decommissioned her in 1972 to save costs, a decision that made sense when fuel oil cost US$20 per ton. In 1974, however, when fuel oil cost $80 per ton following an energy crisis, Savannah's operating costs would have been no greater than a conventional cargo ship.
 

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Orionblamblam said:
Hammer Birchgrove said:
So why isn't NS Savannah running, or any other civilian nuclear ships beside icebreakers?

Because NS Savannah couldn't compete with steam and motor ships.

Wow. A one-off non-production prototype with new technologies that was *not* designed to be commercially competitive, (not even designed to be a very good cargo vessel, but instead an "impressive looking" tech demonstrator) couldn't economically compete with the established order, protected as that order was by little more than an army of trial lawyers and a horde of political activists. I'm shocked, SHOCKED I tell you!

But then...

The Maritime Administration decommissioned her in 1972 to save costs, a decision that made sense when fuel oil cost US$20 per ton. In 1974, however, when fuel oil cost $80 per ton following an energy crisis, Savannah's operating costs would have been no greater than a conventional cargo ship.

Good point about NS Savannah not being *meant* to be economical; I stand corrected on that one, but I still think there must be several reasons for the small amount of civilian nuclear ships. Not just that some countries refuse to let nuclear ships to enter their harbours...

As for the energy crisis, wasn't that really a trade barrier just as effective as a custom fee on oil products, in effect similar to when Argentina and Russia refuses to sell grain when grain prices go up? (The latter indirectly related to the "Russia seems to be on fire" topic.) OPEC indirectly helped the development of nuclear power, wind mills, wave and tidal power, ethanol, gasohol, heat insulation (two and three glass windows etc), which they soon realised, and stopped the oil crisis which they had started.
 

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Hammer Birchgrove said:
I still think there must be several reasons for the small amount of civilian nuclear ships. Not just that some countries refuse to let nuclear ships to enter their harbours...

1) "New Zealand (and wherever else) is a nuclear free zone."
2) "That's a nuclear powered vessel? Hmm. Here, let me sue you."
3) "That's nuclear powered? Hmmm. How are you going to staff it? Since the politically motivated collapse of the civilian nuclear industry, universities have been shutting down their Nuke E programs, and now there aren't that many left."
4) "That's nuclear powered? But nuclear power is bad, therefore I won't even think about it. Hurr durr stampa stampa."

There are lots of reasons why nuclear power for civilian ships didn;t catch on... few of them having anything meaningful to do with *inheirant* technical or economic problems with nuclear poower. Note that the US Navy is perfectly happy to power as many ships and subs as they can with nuclear power, and so far they haven't made any enviro-disasters. If nuclear was truly non-competative with coal or oil for ships, then the Navy would still be running deisel-powered aircraft carriers and subs. But since the Navy can tell the lawyers and activists to get bent, they go with the systems that work best.
 

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Orionblamblam said:
Hammer Birchgrove said:
I still think there must be several reasons for the small amount of civilian nuclear ships. Not just that some countries refuse to let nuclear ships to enter their harbours...

1) "New Zealand (and wherever else) is a nuclear free zone."
2) "That's a nuclear powered vessel? Hmm. Here, let me sue you."
3) "That's nuclear powered? Hmmm. How are you going to staff it? Since the politically motivated collapse of the civilian nuclear industry, universities have been shutting down their Nuke E programs, and now there aren't that many left."
4) "That's nuclear powered? But nuclear power is bad, therefore I won't even think about it. Hurr durr stampa stampa."

There are lots of reasons why nuclear power for civilian ships didn't catch on... few of them having anything meaningful to do with *inheirant* technical or economic problems with nuclear power. Note that the US Navy is perfectly happy to power as many ships and subs as they can with nuclear power, and so far they haven't made any enviro-disasters. If nuclear was truly non-competative with coal or oil for ships, then the Navy would still be running diesel-powered aircraft carriers and subs. But since the Navy can tell the lawyers and activists to get bent, they go with the systems that work best.

I agree with a lot of what you wrote, but...

The US Navy have different requirements than civilian operators, and can pay for the education of the nuclear engineers and technicians. Also, the word is still out whether the French navy's new carrier will be nuclear or diesel. Sweden had plans for nuclear submarines during the 50's/60's, but it was seen as too costly to build and operate given they would operate in the relatively small Baltic Sea.

BTW, honest question, are there still shipyards in USA that still produces ships for the civilian market? In "Western" Europe, almost all have been out-competed by South Korean and later Chinese shipyards; in France, the last "civilian" shipyard closed not too long ago, and it was only used for repairs...
 

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Hammer Birchgrove said:
The US Navy have different requirements than civilian operators, and can pay for the education of the nuclear engineers and technicians.

Sure. But the thing is... they wouldn't *need* to go out of their way to educate the techs themselves if the Nuke E programs were still going... and those would still be going if the political hacks hadn't slaughtered the civilian nuclear program.

Imagine if someone created a solar panel that:
1) Came in a spray can... you just spray-paint a flat surface and stick some electrical leads to it, and there ya go
2) Was 50% efficient at converting sunlight to electricity
3) Cost $1 per square meter
4) Used nothing but carbon black and polyethylene
5) When the electrical use was exceeded by electrical production, turns into a high-efficiency battery
6) Has a fresh pine scent

And every time someone builds a factory to produce cans of the stuff, agents of the coal industry swing by and firebomb the place. Then go on TV and announce that "solar power in a can is expensive and dangerous."

That is *essentially* what happened with nukes.

As for comparing nukes to fossil fuels in shipping as a useful meteric for on-shore power generation... how many solar powered cargo vessels are there? How many wind powered? By analogy, this means that wind farms are ridiculously 18th century.


BTW, honest question, are there still shipyards in USA that still produces ships for the civilian market?

Dunno, but I can't image there are many. Certainly some smaller yards for boats and such (those that survived the Yacht Tax onslaught), but I'm insufficiently knowledgable about the shipping industry to answer the question.
 

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Orionblamblam said:
Hammer Birchgrove said:
The US Navy have different requirements than civilian operators, and can pay for the education of the nuclear engineers and technicians.

Sure. But the thing is... they wouldn't *need* to go out of their way to educate the techs themselves if the Nuke E programs were still going... and those would still be going if the political hacks hadn't slaughtered the civilian nuclear program.

Imagine if someone created a solar panel that:
1) Came in a spray can... you just spray-paint a flat surface and stick some electrical leads to it, and there ya go
2) Was 50% efficient at converting sunlight to electricity
3) Cost $1 per square meter
4) Used nothing but carbon black and polyethylene
5) When the electrical use was exceeded by electrical production, turns into a high-efficiency battery
6) Has a fresh pine scent

And every time someone builds a factory to produce cans of the stuff, agents of the coal industry swing by and firebomb the place. Then go on TV and announce that "solar power in a can is expensive and dangerous."

That is *essentially* what happened with nukes.

Too true.

As for comparing nukes to fossil fuels in shipping as a useful meteric for on-shore power generation... how many solar powered cargo vessels are there? How many wind powered? By analogy, this means that wind farms are ridiculously 18th century.

I see what you mean... The point I was trying to make is that the initial costs of nuclear power plants are so huge, combined with the *risks* involved and the safety arrangements that surrounds it, that despite the long term benefits, make it difficult to run those plants without at least initial help from the government, and/or help with the waste management. Obviously, if research had not stopped being financed and *allowed*, we would probably already today have reactors similar to the proposed 3rd and 4th gen reactor designs.

How come China builds far, far more coal plants than nuclear plants, when the state certainly don't need to fear Greenpeace and the operators don't need to fear regulations as much as in USA and Europe (except for the obvious safety measures)?

BTW, honest question, are there still shipyards in USA that still produces ships for the civilian market?

Dunno, but I can't image there are many. Certainly some smaller yards for boats and such (those that survived the Yacht Tax onslaught), but I'm insufficiently knowledgable about the shipping industry to answer the question.

With the risk of sounding like Chicken Little, I think we're gonna regret giving up those industries, hope we'll be able to rebuild them if and when the need comes.
 

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Hammer Birchgrove said:
The point I was trying to make is that the initial costs of nuclear power plants are so huge, combined with the *risks* involved and the safety arrangements that surrounds it, that despite the long term benefits, make it difficult to run those plants without at least initial help from the government, and/or help with the waste management.

Yes and no. Yes, initial costs for nuclear power are huge. Let's face it, a caveman can start a fire, but a nuclear reaction takes a little more effort. But some of the problems like "waste management?" That is a problem because they're not allowed - by the government - to build the sort of reactors that would simply burn up the waste.

ow come China builds far, far more coal plants than nuclear plants

Lower tech & infrastructure married to a need to grow vast capacity *fast* and to hell with the future. Fission power plants could still be with us 5,000 years from now. I'm pretty sure we'll have scraped up all the coal long before then.


With the risk of sounding like Chicken Little, I think we're gonna regret giving up those industries, hope we'll be able to rebuild them if and when the need comes.

An industry once lost is difficult to rebuild. Not impossible, of course... Germany and Japan lost pretty much most of their industrial capacities, and nevertheless got rebuilt. But in their cases, the rebuilding was done *quickly.* In our case, the lost industries have spent *decades* fading away. if we need to rebuild, the expertise might need to be re-learned.
 

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Orionblamblam said:
Sure. But the thing is... they wouldn't *need* to go out of their way to educate the techs themselves if the Nuke E programs were still going... and those would still be going if the political hacks hadn't slaughtered the civilian nuclear program.

Imagine if someone created a solar panel that:
1) Came in a spray can... you just spray-paint a flat surface and stick some electrical leads to it, and there ya go
2) Was 50% efficient at converting sunlight to electricity
3) Cost $1 per square meter
4) Used nothing but carbon black and polyethylene
5) When the electrical use was exceeded by electrical production, turns into a high-efficiency battery
6) Has a fresh pine scent

And every time someone builds a factory to produce cans of the stuff, agents of the coal industry swing by and firebomb the place. Then go on TV and announce that "solar power in a can is expensive and dangerous."

That is *essentially* what happened with nukes.

I hate to drag this further off-topic, but does anybody have any good sources on US nuclear development since the 1970s, I've heard a lot about spent fuel reprocessing, new generation reactors, thorium as a fuel, and Carter screwing everything up in his term but there seems to be never any good history of the subject and the ways, deliberately or not, nuclear development has often been sabotaged in the US.
 

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Orionblamblam said:
Hammer Birchgrove said:
The point I was trying to make is that the initial costs of nuclear power plants are so huge, combined with the *risks* involved and the safety arrangements that surrounds it, that despite the long term benefits, make it difficult to run those plants without at least initial help from the government, and/or help with the waste management.

Yes and no. Yes, initial costs for nuclear power are huge. Let's face it, a caveman can start a fire, but a nuclear reaction takes a little more effort. But some of the problems like "waste management?" That is a problem because they're not allowed - by the government - to build the sort of reactors that would simply burn up the waste.

I thought the development of fast breeder reactors have been slowed down due to low uranium prices combined with the nasty attitude of the coolants involved (may it be sodium - it doesn't like water - or helium - can disappear quickly if there is a leak, and cause melt down)?

Lead-cooled reactors and subcritical reactors are interesting as well. However, while the the transuranic elements are "burned" reducing the half-life of the waste considerably, it will just shorten the time the waste needs to be stored (for several hundreds of years), but geological disposal will still be needed.

How come China builds far, far more coal plants than nuclear plants?

Lower tech & infrastructure married to a need to grow vast capacity *fast* and to hell with the future. Fission power plants could still be with us 5,000 years from now. I'm pretty sure we'll have scraped up all the coal long before then.

I'm pretty certain we have gone to use fusion and über-efficient solar cells by then - though it's possible our heirs will dig up old cannisters with nuclear waste and use them up until earth quakes or whatnot messes it up! ;)

With the risk of sounding like Chicken Little, I think we're gonna regret giving up those industries, hope we'll be able to rebuild them if and when the need comes.
An industry once lost is difficult to rebuild. Not impossible, of course... Germany and Japan lost pretty much most of their industrial capacities, and nevertheless got rebuilt. But in their cases, the rebuilding was done *quickly.* In our case, the lost industries have spent *decades* fading away. if we need to rebuild, the expertise might need to be re-learned.

Indeed.
 

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Hammer Birchgrove said:
I thought the development of fast breeder reactors have been slowed down due to low uranium prices...

That was certainly an important part of it. But if your goal is to get rid of "radioactive waste," then isn't burning it up and generating electricity and ending the reliance upon fossil fuel thus plunging the Middle East into a nightmarish permanent economic depression, leaving the starving denizens of the former oil-producing nations with no choice but to go on a genocidal rampage into Europe, Russia and India in order to find new homes for their teeming millions worth the extra cost?

For The Children.

it will just shorten the time the waste needs to be stored (for several hundreds of years), but geological disposal will still be needed.

Bah. Short-sighted. The reason it needs to be "stored" is because it's radioactive. What is radiation? It's energy. *Use* *it.*
 

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I think some regulations might be overtly enthusiastic, preventing poor people from having a car because they then become so expensive, or having to use some loopholes like driving a very old car. Or what about people who build their own stuff?

You could take an approach a bit similar to airplanes: there are certified ones that you can take paying passengers in, that are subject to rigorous tests, and then there are experimentals and light just for fun ones - the latter category is mostly regulated just to limit harm to third parties - basically just they're kept small/light enough.

So enable those self builders who actually know what they are doing to drive cars that pose reasonably little harm to others, and keep still most of the people driving regulated cars that have at least some assurance of safety.

The biggest obstacle I have with with libertarian "everybody do what they want" politics is the same I have with with anarchism - when someone wants to do something that is detrimental to others. You then need laws and methods to enforce them.

Similarly, contract law - you could get really weird contracts - it's just simpler if you make general guidelines into a law that makes some things like slavery illegal.
 

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mz said:
Similarly, contract law - you could get really weird contracts - it's just simpler if you make general guidelines into a law that makes some things like slavery illegal.

Ah, but slavery *isn't* illegal. Not in the US... and I'd bet not pretty much everywhere else, too.

Nuclear powered safety slave cars! Topicalness!
 

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